Section 14 of Chapter 115 of the Laws of Belize gives a magistrate the authority to order the destruction of a dog the magistrate deems to be vicious or savage.
The magistrate may also fine the owner of a vicious or savage dog. Under Chapter 115, an “owner” can be any person in whose “custody, charge, or possession, or upon whose premises any dog is found or seen . . .”
Section 14 additionally gives a magistrate the authority to order a dog’s owner to keep it under proper control if the magistrate finds that the dog is likely to spread disease, have a habit of persistent barking, or to be a nuisance for any other reason.
Section 6 of Chapter 85 of the Laws of Belize provides for fines OR a civil action for damages against anyone who “beats, ill-treats, over-drives, over-loads or tortures [any animal], or causes or procures [any animal] to be ill-treated, beaten, over-driven, abused or tortured . . . ” The legal definition of “torture” is the infliction of bodily pain, and abuse can include the failure to properly feed or water or provide proper medical care to an animal.
The only way to enforce these laws is for all of us to take personal responsibility for the health and welfare of animals on the Peninsula. Therefore, please contact the Seine Bight or Placencia police immediately and file a formal complaint if you know of a vicious or savage dog or witness the ill-treatment, abuse or torture of an animal.